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"This is his fourth shot at the race and this will probably be his last," Lynch said of the 8-year-old, who finished second in the race in 2016 and 2017. "It is a competitive race, but if he runs his `A game' race I think he is the horse to beat."
After finishing ninth in last fall's Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) here on a course rated as good, Heart to Heart had a three-month vacation from the races.
"Now that he is 8, you look for signs that they don't want to do it anymore," Lynch said. "But he has good energy and his mind is still in it."
In his 2019 starts, Heart to Heart finished third in the Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park and was fourth in the Tampa Bay (G3) in his most recent start Feb. 9.
"In his first race back, he got tangled up leaving the gate, settled and got in position but got a little tired," Lynch said. "At Tampa, he moved early after a longshot put pressure on him but only got beat a length. I thought it was a credible race."
The main concern Lynch has for Friday is the weather and a forecast that calls for rain early in the day.
"He has shown that he doesn't run well at Keeneland when (the turf) is soft," Lynch said.
Julien Leparoux, who was aboard for last year's victory, has the call Friday and will break from post position six.
Race 9 on Keeneland's Friday card with a Post Time of 5:30 PM
|1||Raging Bull (FR)||3-1||Joel Rosario
|2||Doctor Mounty||9-2||John Velazquez
|Claude McGaughey III|
|4||Delta Prince||7-2||Javier Castellano
|5||Qurbaan||4-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|6||Heart to Heart||4-1||Julien Leparoux
|7||Clyde's Image||30-1||Albin Jimenez
|8||Great Wide Open (IRE)||6-1||James Graham
Roger Horgan, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, is not sure why Shadwell Stable decided to ship Qurbaan to the U.S. from Europe, but he is glad the move was made.
"He's a legit horse," Horgan said of the entrant in Friday's $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (G1) before the 6-year-old jogged once around a muddy main track Monday morning.
"We got him in the barn June of last year at Saratoga. I am not sure about the decision to send him here. (Shadwell and McLaughlin) had success with the last (offspring of) Speightstown they sent here and were hoping lightning could strike twice."
The last Speightstown was Tamarkuz, who closed his career in 2016 with a victory at Santa Anita over Gun Runner in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Qurbaan has compiled a record of 4-1-1-2 in the U.S. with his most recent effort coming in the Tampa Bay (G3) in which he finished third as the favorite.
"When he came in, the plan was to run in an allowance race, but it didn't fill," Horgan said. "He was doing so good and they didn't want to wait on another allowance race, so they put him in the (Bernard) Baruch (G2), which he won."
Qurbaan finished third in last fall's $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) here and closed 2018 with a runner-up finish in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
"The ground was a bit soft in the Shadwell, and that is probably not his favorite type of course," Horgan said. "We tried to get him in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) but were excluded. In the Fort Lauderdale he couldn't catch the unopposed leader, and he was unlucky in his last start getting caught in traffic."
In the Maker's 46 Mile, Qurbaan will face Heart to Heart, the defending champion in the race and a two-time runner-up. Qurbaan finished ahead of that rival in their two previous meetings: the Shadwell Turf Mile, in which Heart to Heart was ninth, and the Tampa Bay, with Qurbaan finishing a neck in front of Heart to Heart.
With a big white blaze on his face, Clyde's Image almost could pass as a double for his sire, Get Stormy.
"We are a little ambitious here," said trainer Tom Bush of the 5-year-old gelding, who is entered in Friday's $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (G1).
The race is one that Bush won with Get Stormy for owner Mary Sullivan's Sullimar Stable in 2011. Sullimar owns Clyde's Image.
"We bought Clyde's Image as a yearling here," Bush said. "We looked at all the Get Stormys and if we liked one, we wanted to be a part of them."
Racing exclusively on the turf, Clyde's Image scored his first victory in his second start in 2016 at Aqueduct.
"After he broke his maiden, an allowance race didn't go so I ran him in a Grade 3 (the Dania Beach) and he was second," Bush said. "He was second in a stakes after that but he developed a problem with a tendon and we gave him some time off."
Clyde's Image returned to the races last October at Belmont and won a 1 1/16-mile race by a nose.
"That was a brave effort that day after 20 months off and I couldn't have been more thrilled," Bush said.
Clyde's Image enters Friday's race off an allowance score at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24. Albin Jimenez retains the mount.
Stronach Stable's Delta Prince, a 6-year-old son of Street Cry (IRE) who is a half-brother to champion Royal Delta, could give trainer James Jerkens a second victory in the Spring Meet's prestigious 1-mile turf race when he starts in Friday's $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (G1).
In 2005, Artie Schiller won the Maker's for Jerkens and came within a nose of repeating the following year when he was edged by Miesque's Approval.
Jerkens' most recent starter at Keeneland was Effinex, runner-up to American Pharoah in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). He is not overly concerned about the prospects of a less than firm turf course Friday for Delta Prince's run in the Maker's 46 Mile because of the chance of heavy rain that morning.
"It looks like he tries hard no matter what the surface," Jerkens said of Delta Prince, who has compiled a 9-4-2-2 record on the turf in his career. "The ground was soft in the Fourstardave (G1) and the Pegasus (World Cup Turf Invitational [G1]) and he ran well."
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